'Why Am I Losing So Much Hair Post-Pregnancy?'

You can end up losing more hair than you gained during pregnancy.

Yes, it's a thing, and it sucks. Here's how to cope.

For many women, hair is a huge part of who they are—and that makes hair loss a BIG deal. Women's Health looked at the main causes of hair loss in the March 2017 issue to help you fight back against it. Next up: pregnancy hair loss.
What it is: During pregnancy, you get a surge in estrogen, which can cause your hair to grow like a weed. But about three to four months after giving birth, the hormone plummets, which helps send many follicles from the growth (anagen) phase to the resting (telogen) phase at the same time—doctors refer to this condition as telogen effluvium. This shedding can last anywhere from four to seven months, says Fusco. And it's not always a zero-sum game: You can end up losing more hair than you gained during pregnancy.

Related: Why Hair Grows from Your Nipples and Other Inconvenient Places

What it looks like: Most women notice loss all over, but a significant indicator is a hairline that's further back from where it was before you got pregnant, and—later—the appearance of somewhat odd-looking baby bangs as your hair starts growing back in. (Create super eyelash volume with Good Lash Mascara from the Women's Health Boutique.)
What helps: If you're breast-feeding, your options are limited, says dermatologist Kathie P. Huang, M.D., codirector of Brigham and Women's Hospital Hair Loss Clinic in Boston. Anything that gets in your system could potentially be transferred to your baby (and many treatments aren't safety-tested on nursing mothers or babies for good reason). A healthy diet goes a long way, as do prenatal vitamins if you have any pregnancy-related deficiencies, like iron, that could hinder healthy hair growth. (Try adding these foods high in iron too your diet.)

If you aren't nursing, the OTC drug minoxidil (the only FDA-approved OTC product for women) could speed the process, says Fusco. (Try Women's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam, $30 for a two-month supply, It works by dilating the scalp's blood vessels, which may stimulate strand growth. It takes about one month of use to slow shedding, and around six months to get three inches of growth, says Fusco.


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Women's Magazine: 'Why Am I Losing So Much Hair Post-Pregnancy?'
'Why Am I Losing So Much Hair Post-Pregnancy?'
You can end up losing more hair than you gained during pregnancy.
Women's Magazine
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